Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star) is a 2D fighter which uses the same style and gameplay of the Guilty Gear series from the drawn backgrounds and characters, to the mechanics of dash-cancels and the ability to perform instant kills.
Like the games similar to the fighting games Sammy makes, it is a 1 vs 1 fighting game where both players have a few bars and gauges:
Health - Shows how much health the player has.
Aura - Used for unleashing strong techniques (which can be used when it says "God Fist Blow") and instant killing techniques (will change to "Deadly Fist Blow" and also if the opponent is on the last star) but it can also for performing guard cancels.
Boost - Used to dash across the stage. They can also be used to cancel out of combos too (similar to Animation Canceling).
Guard - Some characters will also have a guard gauge. If the player blocks attacks, this bar will slowly diminish but if drained, the player will be exposed to attacks.
Big Dipper - Similar to the health bar, but as the players fight, some attacks will remove the 7 stars. Once the last star is gone, one more appears called the "Death Star" which means that they will be weak enough to execute an instant kill on them causing a "Fatal KO", regardless of how much health the opponent has.
The timer is set to 77 seconds per round and by default the play must win 2 out of 3 matches. If by the 3rd round both players have the same health or both bet a KO, a 4th round commences and if that one ends, the match ends.
Similar to most fighting games, players can walk forward and back as well crouch and jump as well as the basic blocking and crouch block. But on top of that, players can also perform other actions too:
- Dash Forward: → →
- Hop Back: ← ←
- Double Jump: ↑ ↑ (Can also do a two stage jump by jumping forward or back)
- Super Jump: ↓ ↑
There are 6 buttons used for the game, which are:
- Punch (P)
- Heavy Punch (HP)
- Kick (K)
- Heavy Kick (HK)
- Speed Boost (S)
- Taunt (also adds more to the aura bar)
- Throw: → or ← + HP/ → or ← + K+HK
- Instant Killing Move: ↓↘→ + HP+HK (Only usable once opponent is on the last star and have Deadly Fist Blow displayed)
- Quick Recovery: ↑ (Once on the ground)
- Launcher: P+HP
- Guard Crush: P+K (Also removes 1 star from opponent and crumples to the floor)
- Guard Smack: HP+HK (Stronger version of Guard Crush which also pushes opponent to the wall)
|Image||Name of Stage||Character that appear in|
|Lin's Village||Mr Heart, Kenshiro|
|Mamiya's Village||Mamiya, Rei|
|Hokuto Renkitoza||Raoh. Ken-Oh|
In the Playstation 2 version of the game, there were extra modes added to the game:
- VS 2P
- VS CPU
- Battle Gallery
A DVD was also released in conjunction with the release of the PS2 game. It contained the following:
- Starter Guide which demonstrated each character's moves and combos that can be performed.
- History of the past Hokuto No Ken games that were released for the consoles.
- Instrumental version of the ending song for the game by Ayumi Nakamura as well as the full version of the song with clips from the game.
- A parody show which showed Japanese celebrities who were fans of the series to compete in a variety of challenges.
- Director's Cut of some chapters from the anime OVA to both of the Raoh Gaidens and Yuria Den